Ten things to do for $10 or less

How much fun can you have for $10 these days? Quite a lot if you know where to go. From catching an art-house flick to enjoying a crafty cocktail, here’s the lowdown on the loose-change high life.

1. Cheap cocktails

You’ll feel sophisticated at op-shop prices with a $10 cocktail in hand. Try a midweek espresso martini at Melbourne Public during their extra-long 4-7pm weekday happy hour. Head to the cute Campari bar at Brunetti on Flinders Lane to try their Aperol and Campari spritzes, available for $10 a pop. If you’re pulling an all-nighter, grab yourself a delicious $8 toastie from Loch & Key – open every weekday until 5am and weekends until 7am.

Make the most of the fine weather in January and enjoy upstairs bar, Longsong’s daily happy hour. From 5-7pm, Monday to Saturday, it’s slinging $2 oysters and $10 spritzes. There’s four signature ‘bubbly’ cocktails to choose from – the Pink + Bitter, vermouth, gin and rose essence and the kombucha-spiked plumboocha – or order a classic spritz, such as an Aperol or Campari.

cheap toastie

Loch & Key $8 all-nighter toasties

2. Cheap movie nights at Cinema Nova and Kino

Going to the movies is pricey – unless you time it right. On Mondays, tickets are $7 before 4pm and $10 after at Cinema Nova, and $9.50 all day at Kino Cinema. Sit back, relax, and enjoy millions of dollars in movie-making for peanuts.

3. Spend Friday night with a human jukebox

A cosy temple to all things camp and kitsch, the Butterfly Club features a revolving door of cabaret, comedy, burlesque and more. Head in at the end of the work week after 10.30pm for Fab Friday, where their legendary piano man plays your favourite songs by request. Entry is free, so bring a song to sing or just enjoy the awesome performance.

4. Explore the city for free

There are plenty of free tours offered around Melbourne which take in the city’s finest architecture, famous landmarks and more. Head to Seven free tours of Melbourne iconsfor the low down, from guided explorations of city laneways and street art through the Melbourne Free Walking Tour to an historical exploration of Ned Kelly’s wild life.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

5. Have a pizza party

All day, every day, the Italian food experts at Fatto Bar & Cantina serve their authentic hand-stretched pizzas for just $10 a pop. If it’s been a particularly flush week you can even add a can of Peroni with your pizza for an extra five bucks.

An outdoor dining area with the sun setting in the background


6. Cool down at the pool

For just $5.80, spend an hour or a day at Carlton outdoor pool. Kids’ entry is a mere $3.50, and under fives – who will love playing in the new toddler pools – are free. Northside swimmers can head to North Melbourne Recreation Centre for $5.95, or head to the gorgeous city baths for an after work dip where you can splash about for $6.75. And there’s free music to round out the weekend so you can make the most of a cool Sunday session at the pool.

But if you’re looking for a place to cool down and really make a splash, check out these cool pools.

7. Visit Asia on your lunch break

Dumplings enthusiasts, gather ’round! Drumplings‘ has a heap of menu items that will leave you with change from a tenner. Try the prawn and chive dumplings, take in a juicy bao burger, or skip straight to the sweet note with nutella filled parcels.


Tantalise your taste buds with Drumplings’ cheap options

If Thai is more your thing, head to Soi 38 to try one of their delicious Bangkok noodle soups for $10. Their location is also a talking point – they’re hidden away in the ground floor of a carpark.

Keen for more Thai food in a fun location? Dodee Paidang has both laneway and underground real estate, and their giant bowls of authentic noodle soup will only set you back about $7.50. Or blow out the budget for a big plate of crispy pork belly, rice and vegetables for $9.90.

Bring a bit of refreshment to the hotter days ahead and discover the Japanese treat of Kakigōri. Mountains of shaved ice, delicious fruit syrup, tapioca pearls and sweet toppings like cream or Nutella make this icy treat a summertime winner. Try out a mini for $6.60 or a small for $8.80 at Heavenly Shave Ice until the end of February.

A person holding a white cup with coloured shaved ice in it

Kakigori at Heavenly Shave Ice

On the look out for Melbourne’s best $10 or less lunch? We’ve got some more favourites in Ten CBD lunches for under $10.

8. Beer paddle at Hophaus

If you’re more of a beer kind of guy or gal, the tasting paddle at Hophaus is always $10. Choose four beers from the nine on tap and ponder a trip to Bavaria.

9. See free art at the NGV

Art isn’t just about pricey blockbusters. NGV International has some that’s free to see, including a bunch of works by hip Brit Julian Opie.  On show until 17 February, the larger-than-life animated human figures perpetually striding outside the entrance are available to view anytime day or night.

Julian Opie

10. Mondays, Mexican and margaritas

Bit tight on the pay cheque this week? Nacho problem here – Mexican favourite Touche Hombre’s daily happy hour is sure to appeal with $5 tacos and $5 beer and wine every day from 3-5pm – it’s almost too good to be true.

Until now there’s been not a lot to like about Mondays but Mesa Verde is changing that. This Mexican favourite has teamed up with Espolon Tequila to bring you $10 Tommy’s margaritas all night long – every Monday in summer. Holy guacamole!

And if that’s not enough, there’s $10 mid-week margaritas at Hello José and $5 tacos on Taco Tuesdays – that’s something to taco bout.

A margarita on a colourful table cloth with Mexican food in the background

Hello Jose